The best thing about Cuti Cuti Malaysia, is that these holidays can be a mere 4 – 5 days long, and it takes you no time in packing/unpacking or getting home later. And that is precisely why we said yes, to an invite to visit The Andaman Langkawi.
The month of December straight through to April will be hectic for us, travel-wise, but we were willing to squeeze in one last short holiday, before we took off again, on another adventure.
Well, arriving at the Andaman, it’s hard not to fall in love with the green, green (did I mention green?) surroundings.
The secluded beach and the rainforest are the two most compelling elements for me and Cumi and it was great to have both at our finger tips at this luxurious island resort.
We check in and explore the place a little bit…
The must have cocktail on any island vacation.. the Pina Colada!
The Luxury Pool Suites.. just the ultimate in comfort I tell ya!
Your own private pool
Of course insanely zippy WIFI so you can Tweet and Instagram your shots at top speed
Spacious living room
The pool.. but who on earth wants to swim here, when there’s the beach and sea just 10 steps away.. not me!
The Andaman Coral Nursery – where coral and fish are grown.. till they are nice and healthy..
Folks and swim along a path and view the myriad sealife in the nursery and learn from the guides about the different kind of corals
As luck would have it, we happened to be at The Andaman for a very important event for both the resort as well as Langkawi Island as a whole.
The Langkawi ARMS Project.
The Opening Ceremony – Bradley Mulroney, President & Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge, Yang Berbahagia Dato Haji Mohd Rawi bin Abd Hamid (Kedah Exec. Councillor), Christian Metzner GM of The Andaman.
Zainal Abidin sings at the Opening Ceremony.. Hijau still gives me goose bumps!
The ARMS Project.
ARMS stands for, Artificial Reef Module System. You see, the fish in our sea, are being coming more scarce by the minute. Probably not just here in Malaysia, but all over the world, due to over fishing and just blatant disregard for the environment and eco-system. And the good thing is that here in Langkawi, folks are actually making and effort, and taking steps to do something about it, to stop this erosion of sea life.
A good way to prevent this precious marine life from completely disappearing from the face of the earth, is by creating ARMS.
We had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Gerry Goeden, Consultant Marine Biologist at The Andaman, and he told us that Langkawi’s fisheries resources and coral reef ecosystem have been under greater stress for at least 25 years. The best chance of improving reef fish stocks is by creating an artificial home for them. And if the reefs around Langkawi are properly rehabilitated, there is a possibility that within a decade or so, there might be a comeback of reef organisms and an increase in fish production.
With these ARMS project added to the sea, every year, it is hoped that they would be able to see improvements on coral regeneration in Datai Bay and an increase of reef fish stocks.
The ARMS Project would be a joint project between Lafarge Malaysia and the The Andaman Langkawi, where 52 modules would be deployed, to the seabed, just outside of the resort. The modules were created by Dr Goeden in partnership with Mr Kee Alfian, Reef Ecologist, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
The ARMS covered over 1,000 square-metre area and if you’re wondering why they look like blocks of cheese, well, it’s because (it’s been researched and tested) the holes form cosy homes of fishes and marine life. These blocks are also better than the older round reefs, as these can anchor to ocean floor, unlike the round ones that can sometimes be swept away by strong currents. The rehabilitation of the sea does not happen overnight however, and it will probably have a maturation period of approximately 10 years.
In theory the ARMS would allow juvenile fish in shallow waters to move further offshore and encourage reproduction, thus creating more fish.. more fish, more jobs, a better economy, and so forth.. basically a sustainable local fishing industry is what Langkawi is aiming towards.
With Dr. Gerry Goeden, Consultant Marine Biologist at The Andaman
Obviously the scientific department is still testing this theory and will keep a close eye on the ARMS and see how they can further tweak in improve it in the months to come. Here you see a prototype of the ARMS – back in the day, these were the first ARMS used in the Bay.
We also spoke with Bradley Mulroney, President & Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge and he told us their hopes for the ARMS project playing a role in sustaining the fishing industry which many of the locals are involved in, and boosting eco-tourism industries, a key revenue generator for the island.
Then it was back to shore, for some canapes and drinks before, doing our bit, for the ocean..
Me doing my bit today.. And sticking a bit of coral on to the cement block.. To be lowered into the sea.. Hopefully more coral will take to it.. But it is a slow process.. There are lots of different kinds of corals that make up a coral reef, and each kind grows at different speeds. Some grow very slowly (less than 2 mm per year, or 1/10th of an inch), but others can grow much faster, up to 10 cm per year (or 4 inches). Since the reefs are made up of all of these different kinds, the entire reef will grow pretty slowly, usually around 1 cm per year (a little less than 1/2 inch).
These coral bits you see, are harvested from the Andaman coral nursery. They are very carefully and deliberately grown around a piece of concrete .. This surface is then mounted onto the cement block, surface to surface.. So the soft coral isn’t damaged.. Pretty ingenious!
Later that night, we had a terrific seafood dinner at Jala.
I want this one! I told Chef Rene Knudsen.. he was like OK.. I hope your stomach is as strong as your arm!
Chef the recommends the style for which to cook your seafood. A bit of everything and with different sauces is the best.
Razor clams or bamboo clams.. they were as fat and juicy as they look!
A coconut, burrata cheese salad – very well made and super delicious
Grilled squid, tiger prawns and mackerel.. with different sauces and side dishes.. loved the green chili spicy sauce.
licorice creme brûlée
The next morning, a quick run on the beach, a forest hike, followed by a spa.
Caught the sunrise at 7am..
Just before the sunrise, the animals and creatures of the forest were so loud it was deafening… and then the minute the sun rose, it was silent!
We finished our hour long hike and then it was Spa time!
We opted for the Traditional Deep Tissue massage.. because that’s the only sort I like really. No point getting a massage if you’re not going to feel them fingers all the way to the bone!
The nice spa lady lets you try the oil and asks you if you like the scent… of course I said yes to the lovely lemongrass-ginger oil
The couple’s room. What a view.. It was like that the entire massage. Hope no monkeys saw us buck naked!
And since I’d been up since 6am, and rushing from run, to hike, to spa, I didn’t even have time to eat. It was now 10:45am with a 15 minute window, to grab breakfast. We had to eat something otherwise we would have passed out. Or rather I would have. Cumi is always fine and never seems to need to eat. Anyway, seeing as I was approaching hypoglycemia we legged it down to The Restaurant and grabbed the fastest breakfast ever documented in history. These sausages here were the bomb. They were fat, juicy and nicely browned on the outside. They looked like fat, juicy brown sausages. Really. Where on earth did they get them?
So, that now left us with a 1.5hr window for a quick swim in the Sea.
Then it was time to eat.. again!
Tepian Laut.. or Next to the Sea, incase you couldn’t tell.
With nature at your backdoor, it’s all about the al fresco dining, of course.
The food served here is mainly Malaysian but it also has some Sandwiches and Panini that are supposed to be the best on Langkawi Island. I kid you not.
If there was any doubt, just look at her face light up with enthusiasm, eating this Panini. Nope. No doubt whatsoever.
Wines and more cocktails to blow your mind. This one kinda did, as it had chili padi.
I highly recommend the deep fried soft shell crab accompanied by pomegranate – so, so good. The tandoori chicken was just so-so as it lacked flavour. The salmon was just OK apparently.
What a great, but short vacation. We highly recommend The Andaman for their amazing yet secluded beach front, great service, and for their Eco stand, that’s working all the time to minimize its impact on the environment. Oh, and the delicious seafood too, of course!
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The Andaman, a Luxury Collection Resort, Langkawi
Jalan Teluk Datai, 07000 Langkawi, Kedah